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And don’t be afraid to Twitter


A free micro-blogging service, Twitter, is becoming the site of choice for companies interested in leveraging social networks to target promotions to specific consumers, with frequent shoppers among the most targeted. Think of it as a speedy and inexpensive marketing tool that allows a brand to engage directly, in real time, with consumers.

Members can send and read other users’ updates, or “tweets,” which are short text-based posts of up to 140 characters. Updates are displayed on the user’s profile page and delivered to other users who have signed up to receive them.

Computer maker Dell was an early adopter, and is now using Twitter to reward its members with exclusive deals. In February, Dell began using tweets to “award” its social networkers with big discounts, such as 30% off XPS laptops. Dell’s Twitter followers can see offers listed on their Twitter homepage.

“With over 11,000 followers, our team wanted to show its thanks to the Twitter world through these new deals, which will continue each week,” Bob Pearson, Dell’s VP, communities and conversations, said in a message to its subscribers on the company’s Direct2Dell blog.

Dell’s blog reported that the company plans to offer more Twitter-exclusive deals in the future. The retailer expects to use the service to “build its follower base and ultimately influence sales,” the blog said.

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